Friday, November 7, 2008

When McCain Lost His Soul

Not that anyone cares, but it might be good to remember back in the summer when this campaign for the Presidency was a lot closer than it seemed on November 1. Pundits attribute McCain's sizable defeat to the swooning economy, but I think his downfall started back in late August, right before the convention, when the maverick in McCain gave way to the dark forces of win-at-all-costs. The McCain who showed up on election night with a gracious and moving concession speech, the one who followed Mitt Romney's pandering to the troubled automobile workers in Michigan by telling them the hard truth that those jobs were not going to return, the one who challenged his party's leadership on a whole bunch of important policy issues, the one who called for the surge when the situation in Iraq looked hopeless and public opinion was turning sharply against the war...that John McCain disappeared when he let himself be convinced to choose Sarah Palin rather than the person he wanted to run with, Joseph Lieberman. I have no brief for Lieberman and don't want to get into an argument about Palin, but the choice was much more than who was going to be the nominee for vice president. It was about whether John McCain was willing to risk losing by running his campaign the way he wanted to run it, or he was going to let the hard core Republican operatives try to do FOR him what they did TO him in 2000 in South Carolina. I have been there. I recognize that feeling. Is it better to lose feeling good about the campaign you ran, or try to win with a campaign that makes you feel like you haven't showered in a month? Are you willing to take the chance of doing it "my way" as the old Sinatra theme song goes? McCain made his choice and ended up with the worst of all possible worlds: losing and running a tawdry campaign that will forever tarnish a reputation for independence and honor that he spent a lifetime nurturing. Too bad. But it is a real leadership lesson that goes way beyond politics. That's the real test: can you be true to your own story about yourself, regardless of what others think? Can you act on behalf of purpose rather than expediency when there are real risks in doing so and huge stakes? If he had stood up to those apparachicks like he did his captors in North Vietnam, who knows.....

1 comment:

Franklincovey said...

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